In the past, bed and breakfasts were seen as quaint, cute alternatives to hotels. They allowed travelers to patronize a small business, while at the same time giving themselves a taste of something unique and individualized to them. While a hotel has its own benefits, everything in a bed and breakfast caters more to you, so it makes sense that people often enjoy themselves at a bed and breakfast more. But that being said, millennials had in recent years become less charmed by bed and breakfasts. There was a misconception that hotels were more convenient, and their uniformity more reliable; there was also the perception that it might be cheaper to stay in a hotel, simply because bed and breakfasts seemed more exclusive. While many bed and breakfast owners may have kept their businesses focused on the older adult audience, the fact is that as people begin to retire and stop traveling as much, they need to appeal to millennials. For that matter, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many seniors may feel uncomfortable with the idea of traveling at all. The question is, how do you ensure that your bed and breakfast amenities appeal to millennials?
You don’t have to scrap the bed and breakfast you’re already running and invest in a more newly-constructed bed and breakfast in order to appeal to millennials. Nor do you need to scrap the features in your current bed and breakfast in order to make a point. Preexisting bed and breakfast owners, and those investing in a bed and breakfast for the first time, can create a millennial appeal. Furthermore, it’s a great time to begin targeting a millennial audience if you weren’t already. Sites like Airbnb and VRBO make it easier than ever for bed and breakfast owners to market themselves to millennials. As long as you have your best bed and breakfast amenities showcased and ready for visitors, there is no reason why you can’t transition your bed and breakfast to being the ideal destination for millennial guests. So the question is, what can you do to make your bed and breakfast perfect for them?
1. Incorporate The Great Outdoors
Millennials love spending time outdoors, and they love it even more now that the pandemic has forced people to socially distance. Chances are that if you own a bed and breakfast, it is probably closer to the countryside than the city. The fact is that it’s easier to get the space that you need in less crowded areas; and indeed, it’s also easier to have elevated bed and breakfast amenities when you’re in an area with an actual back yard. A lot of bed and breakfast owners keep their bed and breakfasts on farmland, and ultimately they can make this a part of the overall experience. Many people simply like outdoor space as a part of their bed and breakfast experiences because they can’t get enough time outdoors when they’re home. Right now, over half of all homeowners who upgrade their outdoor spaces spend a little over six hours in those outdoor spaces every week. They enjoy relaxing, gardening, and reading in those spaces; but they could arguably do even more at a bed and breakfast.
In a bed and breakfast, people can enjoy their time swimming in a pool, hanging out in a hot tub, or chilling out on a back deck or patio. Bed and breakfast owners may also want to have an outdoor kitchen space, where they can grill or use a fire pit. As one of the main benefits of visiting a bed and breakfast is that you’re able to enjoy home cooking. But as previously mentioned, a major benefit of a countryside bed and breakfast is also that you can get active if you want to. If you own calm, friendly horses you may want to offer trail rides in the area as a part of the bed and breakfast experience. Other experiences, like hiking, should also be advertised online. Experiences are just as much a part of bed and breakfast amenities as special installations are. But of course, you’ll want to stay on top of your utilities and the functionality of your bed and breakfast. While it’s always embarrassing and difficult when a bed and breakfast experiences functionality problems, if your guests are a good distance from alternatives it’s even more challenging for everyone involved. The last thing you want is to lose access to clean water while you have guests staying at your bed and breakfast.
2. Offer A Complimentary Breakfast
A big mistake a bed and breakfast owners often make is charging for things that some might consider complimentary. While this may not be as much of an issue with some older travelers who may have more expendable income, millennials will take notice if you, say, charge for a breakfast. Millennials aren’t against paying for something that is worth it, or something that anyone else would charge for as well. But consider the fact that many of them are used to large chain hotels, and those hotels will often offer complimentary breakfasts. Millennials won’t see an issue for paying if you serve them lunch or dinner, as long as you
clarify that ahead of time. But if you’re competing with a hotel, you may want to consider making your breakfast complimentary. Many bed and breakfast owners already do this, and though some complimentary breakfasts offered by hotels are less extensive than others, with some consisting of no more than a cereal bar, you should still be able to offer this as part of your bed and breakfast amenities without breaking the bank.
In fact, there are many ways through which you can offer a breakfast that will impress millennials. Really, these travelers are much less demanding than certain critical takes might have led you to believe. Millennials won’t expect you to offer avocado toast for every breakfast, though it is advisable to offer a simple vegetarian or even vegan option in order to expand your clientele range. While offering typical cow’s milk, you may also want to offer vegan creamer or oat milk as an alternative. Furthermore, you may want to offer some vegetables in the skillet as an alternative to typical eggs and bacon. There’s an added charm to be gained by offering your guests vegetables that you’ve grown in your own garden; so, if you have that as a part of your bed and breakfast amenities, consider taking advantage of your own produce. You may also want to offer different types of ground coffee, rather than a typical Keurig. These types of unique, less mainstream touches are the sorts of things that millennials really can’t get enough of.</p.
3. Free Wifi And Tech Access
While millennials often go to a bed and breakfast in order to relax, visit a vineyard, and get away from it all, that doesn’t mean that they all want to, or can unplug completely when visiting a bed and breakfast. Generally speaking, hotels will therefore offer free wifi to their guests in order to entice them. Some smaller establishments, however, charge guests for wifi on a daily or even hourly basis. One of the issues that can come with charging for wifi is that it may seem strange to a lot of American travelers in particular. So while you may be tempted to charge for various benefits in able to make the most profit possible, it’s generally not advised to charge for wifi. Many people won’t even give a bed and breakfast a chance when they’re online searching and notice that it charges for wifi, while another neighboring bed and breakfast won’t. Fiber optic networks, among other things, are generally expected to be a part of basic bed and breakfast amenities in this day and age. If for whatever reason you actually cannot provide wifi and therefore have an ethernet connection, make this clear to guests before they book. It’s not an insurmountable obstacle to a business, but if you aren’t clear about it before people book you’ll probably get a bad review.
But if you are emphasizing wifi access, and free wifi access at that, you also need to go above and beyond if possible. Some wifi connections are stronger than others, and as you may have a bed and breakfast full of guests at some point, you should shoot for the strongest possible wifi connection. For that matter, you may even want to offer a desktop or laptop computer for guest use. You also should think about offering additional phone chargers in case your guests lose or damage theirs during their travels. Many guests also appreciate being able to use streaming services rather than relying on cable when staying in a bed and breakfast. Furthermore, these are among some of the bed and breakfast amenities that may very well help you save money as an owner. While it depends on what you offer in the end, offering access to streaming services versus a cable bill could end up being much more affordable. The more you save on the basics, the more you can invest into more unique bed and breakfast amenities.
4. Daily Room Cleanings
There are a lot of reasons why daily room cleanings were not always a part of bed and breakfast amenities. The fact is that staying at a bed and breakfast is different from staying at a hotel, and it isn’t entirely unreasonable to expect guests to either clean their own rooms during their stay or wait until they leave to have their rooms cleaned. But offering a complimentary daily cleaning for your guests may differentiate you from the competition, which, on big sites like Airbnb and VRBO, is quite challenging. There are a lot of benefits to you when you clean bedrooms on a regular basis, too. You can fold the cost of cleanings into your rates, just as you can with air conditioning system bills. You can also more easily maintain your bed and breakfast in total when you handle the cleaning on your own each day. Of course, not every guest is going to want regular cleanings, as these may be seen as an invasion of privacy by some.
You may want to clean the rooms yourself, in order to not only clean the rooms to your own specifications. Furthermore, cleaning the rooms regularly on your own will allow you to check up on your bedroom furniture and the rooms in general personally. But if your bed and breakfast is especially busy, it might be easier for you to hire an outside cleaning company in order to ensure that it is cleaned at a specific time, and on a professional level. Your bed and breakfast may be difficult for you to maintain on your own, and as millennials, in particular, have high standards fostered through years of using mainstream hotels, you may be more comfortable working with a professional cleaning company. Again, this is very much a matter of personal taste, but if you do work with a professional cleaning company you should disclose this to guests.
There are a lot of issues that can come up when you run a bed and breakfast; this is very much a part of the process. As you work on smaller premises, with a smaller number of guests, you may be more likely to run into issues that halt booking more easily than a hotel would. You may not want guests to be visiting while you’re having an air conditioning installation completed, for example. But there are so many rewards that come with running a bed and breakfast. You can be your own boss, and you can take care of things the way that you think they should be taken care of. Furthermore, a bed and breakfast is a labor of love. You can make it exactly what you want it to be, and you can ensure that your guests have the type of experience that you would want to have when visiting.